Site of Sites Support/Advice in RoR

So I have a site of sites situation I have to support and I wanted to
solicit any advice people might have to support this. Basically, I have
a ASP-style Web app, and we will have a number of sites that are using
the core functionality of that app, but may want seriously divergent
views on that functionality, as well as require some additional custom

So the goal is to end up with a structure and best practices that does
the following:
1) Keeps the number of hardware resources required to a minimum.

Ie. Does it make sense to build all/a number of the sites into a single
rails app that just needs a set number of mongrels to be running? Or is
this a recipe for disaster, and it is better to separate out each site
and have it running on it’s own mongrels. How does this affect resource
requirements and caching?

2) Keeps the database maintenance and resources to a minimum

Pretty much the same questions as #1. Is it better to use < 1:1 sites
to db instances for resource management? Obviously you don’t have quite
the freedom in customizing the database on a site by site basis if you
share it amongst sites.

3) Allows for easy customization of the views and possibly some
controller functionality.

So I will elaborate my thoughts on this further below, but does this
mean I should put my core functionality in a Rails engine and then have
each site be customized in the main app folder? Or should my views have
subfolders which contain the customized content and override the partial
that get used based on some domain name based setting.

4) Allows for easy maintenance and bug fixing across all sites.

What is the best way to set up SVN to support something like this? Have
a main trunk and then each site be a branch? Do subfolders under the
main branch for each site?

So at this point I see the following options:

1) Turn the app into a full-fledged CMS, where everything is
configurable by db/files, which allows all the sites to run in one
server config.

This seems like a ton of work an ends up with way to complex code, but
is best on server resources.

2) Branch the code for each client, running separate mongrels/db’s for
each client.

Simplifies coding at the expense of server resources, and needing to
make changes in possible dozens of branches.

*3) Use a rails engine so that the base functionality is there and then
customization can be layered on top in the main app branch. But each
sites customizations would be a separate branch. *

Eases code changes for the main rails engine functionality, but still
has server resource issues.

4) Completely customize the way rendering etc looks for files so that
it looks for the partials/images first in a subfolder first then
defaults back.

Ie. have a folder structure like:


And having default index.rhtml in application, and overriden index.rhtml
in application/site1 for example (but not necessarily

This has better resource management and seems more manageable than #2 or
#3 as far as code maint.

So #1 or #4 seem to be the best choices, just not sure that #1 is within
the scope of manageablilty. Anyway, if any of you out there have faced
a similar situation or just have an opinion/ideas for me I would
appreciate your feedback.


This forum is not affiliated to the Ruby language, Ruby on Rails framework, nor any Ruby applications discussed here.

| Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Remote Ruby Jobs